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Understand How Ginger Grows

Ginger is grown from rhizomes. Rhizomes are fleshy stems that spread horizontally underground and contain several buds or growing points. The ginger rhizomes are planted below ground and send up bamboo-like shoots that provide energy to the developing ginger below ground.
When the weather is nice and warm in the spring, ginger shoots appear from the ground. Ginger thrives during the long days and warm months of summer. As the days grow shorter and cooler, the ginger’s leaves turn yellow, indicating that it is about to go dormant.

Purchase and prepare ginger before planting

Ginger can be purchased online from seed companies, but it can also be purchased organically at your local market. Sprouts is where I get mine. Look for light-colored, thin-skinned organic ginger rhizomes that are plump and firm with several bumpy nodules when purchasing ginger rhizomes for planting. To plant ginger, cut rhizomes into 2′′-3′′ pieces (each piece containing at least 2 to 3 nodules). Before planting, allow the cut ends to dry and heal.

Give ginger plenty of time to grow

Ginger requires a long, warm growing season of about ten months to thrive.
Zones 8 and higher have enough time to start and grow ginger outside. Plant outside after the last frost date of the season and when the soil warms up in the spring. Plant ginger in the Arizona low desert in March.
Plant rhizomes 2′′ deep and 6′′-8′′ apart, with nodules pointing up.

In colder climates, rhizomes must be pre-sprouted indoors before planting. Count back 10 months from the date of your first fall frost. It’s time to start pre-sprouting your ginger.

Plant ginger rhizomes 2′′ deep in small pots on heat mats to pre-sprout. Maintain a warm and slightly moist environment (but not soggy; it will rot). Once the ginger sprouts, supplement the lighting. until it is warm enough to plant outside. Gradually let plants become accustomed to outdoor conditions for a week and then carefully transplant sprouts to larger containers or garden beds outdoors.

Give ginger plenty of warmth

Ginger grows poorly in temperatures below 55°F. Temperatures below freezing cause leaf damage and also kill the rhizomes.
Choose the warmest spot in your cooler climate to plant ginger. Look for an area where a block wall reflects heat. Consider growing ginger in a pot. Containers frequently heat up faster in the spring. When temperatures drop, relocate the container to a more protected location.

Give ginger good soil and fertilize as needed

The best soil for ginger is one that is rich in organic matter and drains well. Growing ginger in rich, loose soil may provide enough nutrients. Mulching the soil with additional compost or straw aids in nutrient retention, weed control, and water retention.
Similar to “hilling” potatoes, you can add a few inches of compost to growing ginger sprouts while it is growing. This can encourage more rhizome growth.
If your ginger isn’t growing well, try feeding it an organic fertilizer every few weeks, such as liquid seaweed or fish emulsion. Soil testing will tell you exactly what your soil is lacking.

Water ginger correctly

Regular watering is essential for ginger growth, especially when the plant is actively growing. Rhizomes dislike soggy conditions, so well-drained soil is essential. Avoid overwatering. Reduce watering as the weather cools.

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